When You Don’t Trust God…

The following is an excerpt from the book, The Stress Factor

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (
Jeremiah 17:7-8)

In 2007, the Hualapai Indian Tribe unveiled the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a sightseeing bridge that juts out over the canyon. The site is near Kingman, Arizona. If you go, you can walk out on the horseshoe-shaped bridge and take in the gorgeous canyon views. The Skywalk was built on the edge of the canyon and then rolled out into place. It extends 70 feet over the edge, 4,000 feet above sea level and between 500 to 800 feet above the canyon floor. It is the largest cantilever glass bridge in the world.

You read that right. It’s a glass bridge.

When you walk out on the bridge, you will look down at your feet and see nothing below them, with the exception of dirt and some very hard rock a little less than a thousand feet away, down. The Skywalk’s builders make a point of trumpeting the soundness of the structure. They will tell you that the floor is four layers of Saint-Gobain low-iron glass wrapped around what’s called SentryGlas. It was made to withstand 100-pounds-per-square-foot as well as the heaviest of wind forces. They assure you that the structure is completely safe. Some even take a perverse joy in walking out on the bridge among the latest group of tourists and jumping up and down.

Pass.

We’re talking about a glass bridge, 800 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon! (Was that exclamation point even necessary?) It is said that many arrive at the site with every intention of walking out onto the bridge, but think again and stay in the Skywalk’s Welcome Center. Other brave souls venture out.

Those who walk out on that bridge are putting their complete trust in its builders. They have faith that those builders knew what they were doing, that whatever state and federal inspections were done were thorough, that whatever testing was needed was completed. To walk out on that bridge, you must trust it. If it turns out to be worthy of your faith, you live. Otherwise…

Know it or not, like it or not, you trust God in the same way every day. Your life is at His whim (Colossians 1:16-17). He sustains you, every minute of every day (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus doesn’t just give life. He is Life (John 14:6). You may acknowledge that truth each day. You may think about it only occasionally. You may deny it. It’s true, no matter.

The sparkle in this particular diamond is that God is trustworthy. You can trust Him, if you will. That’s really the choice to stress or not.

Stress arises from fear, which is born of the idea that you can’t trust God. You convince yourself (or someone does) that God’s assurances are lies. As a result, your life isn’t in His hands because you won’t put it there. Instead, it’s all up to you. If that’s what you believe, you likely will face chronic, debilitating stress. No trust, no peace.

We suggest that there is a process to trusting God. First, start with the understanding that He is trustworthy. That is usually born out of regular consumption of His Word, teaching that is faithful to that Word, and interaction with people who trust Him. 

How do you know if you’re trusting God? Well, since it’s a relationship, an expression of love, it’s not an empirical science, to be measured and codified, but there are signs. If you find yourself worrying less, you are likely trusting more. If your self-talk is more about your desperate reliance on God rather than your own potential for failure, there’s faith happening there. If you’re stepping out more, taking more risks in the interest of prayer, worship, discipleship, or evangelism, that’s likely trust at work. Patience is another good sign. It usually grows with trust.

As always, Oswald Chambers says it powerfully:

Patience is more than endurance. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says–‘I cannot stand anymore.’ God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God’s hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.